Information, Communications and the Digital Economy CS, Eliud Owalo has launched three Jitume Kazi laboratories in Maseno School, Maseno University and St. Mary’s School in Yala, Siaya County.
Owalo noted that the government development agenda prioritizes agriculture and food production, Affordable Housing, growth of the Micro, Small and Medium enterprises, Universal Health Coverage, Digital Superhighway and Creative Economy and Environment and Climate change.
“ICT was identified both as a goal on its own right and as the single most important enabler and prime mover for the rest of the goals,” he said.
Owalo said that as a beneficiary of the education system of both St. Mary’s Yala and Maseno, launching the projects in the schools is a sure way of giving back to the community to benefit others.
“The Maseno community and that of St. Mary’s Yala have a very special place in my heart, as places that nurtured me in my youthful years,” said Owalo.
He noted that the ICT agenda is derived from the Kenya National Digital Master Plan 2022-2032 and the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA).
“This Master Plan has five pillars. They include digital infrastructure, digital services and data management, digital skills, digital entrepreneurship and effective alignment of digital technology with policy, legal and regulatory frameworks,” he said.
The ICT Cabinet Secretary added that as the technical training institutes provided entrepreneurship skills, there is a need for the learners to also acquire computer skills as it will boost their professionalism.
“This pillar has identified Technical and Vocational Training, and Entrepreneurship Training (TVET) entities as critical digital skills development platforms. As Kenyans acquire various skills for occupations, job creation and wealth generation, they must also learn how to use ICT in this pursuit,” said Owalo.
Owalo pointed out that the Jitume Kazi laboratories’ primary objective is to train a public workforce that will ensure efficient and effective service delivery in different areas of work.
He noted that the digital angle of the Jitume Kazi Programme has been designed to equip TVETS countrywide with 23,000 virtual desktops, where one million learners will be equipped with market-ready business and ICT-related courses for free.
“Our experience with trainees at the Kabete National Polytechnic showed in December last year, that some were already earning as much as 2000 USD per month from digital jobs. We have cause to feel confident and to intensify our efforts to equip our people with digital skills,” said Owalo.
Jitume Kazi project is alongside the Digital Talent Programme set up by the Ministry, whose key components are skills development, on-the-job training, certification and ICT innovations.
He noted that the twelve-month internship aims to provide a platform for structured training, coaching and mentoring.
So far, the project has benefited 356 students who graduated in November last year while another 400 interns who were recruited in December 2022 are currently undergoing training.
he added that he hopes the ICT projects will attract local and foreign ICT investors to boost project outsourcing by setting up the ICT hubs in the country and creating jobs for the unemployed ICT gurus.
“I am confident that apart from providing digital skills for digital services and improved service delivery, our highly-skilled ICT professionals will attract foreign investors, to establish tech industries locally, including in Business Process Outsourcing. This should create jobs, and contribute to the country’s foreign exchange,” said Owalo.
According to the CS, this will enable citizens to access government services, engage in E-Commerce and communicate with each other through a digital identity system which is being worked on.
“I want to encourage young people, especially, to get on to this train. This is your ticket into the future. Don’t remain behind,” added Owalo.